This week’s Real Estate Roundtable Fall 2019 Meeting in Washington featured discussions with congressional lawmakers on national policy issues affecting economic growth, job creation, local communities and the commercial real estate industry. Roundtable members engaged policymakers and other speakers on a wide range of issues, including terrorism insurance; affordable housing; GSE reform; opportunity zones; FIRPTA repeal; infrastructure; energy and climate; and monetary policy.
Roundtable Chair Debra A. Cafaro (Chairman & CEO, Ventas, Inc.) launched the meeting by noting how the organization remains focused on its national policy agenda. Cafaro added that The Roundtable continues to move forward from its 20-year foundation with 17 industry association partners and membership-driven policy advisory committees. She emphasized, “We will continue to do the research necessary to make our case on issues with policymakers, and work across product types and entity classifications to advance strong, sustainable national policy for the industry.”
Speakers at The Roundtable’s Fall Meeting included:
- Dr. Ben Carson—Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—discussed the Administration’s efforts to reshape the role of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) by capitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before ending their government conservatorship. He also noted a Stanford University study on rent control legislation that found such actions decreased rental costs in the short-term, yet decreased the supply of affordable housing in the long-term.
- Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)—Member, Senate Committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and member of the Problem Solvers Caucus while she served in the House of Representatives—noted the importance of public-private partnerships for infrastructure investments, economic growth and community improvements. She also lauded Opportunity Zones as an incentive to create more affordable housing in her state.
- Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)—Member, Senate Committees on Budget; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs—addressed the importance of bipartisanship to achieve legislative goals. He discussed the efforts of policymakers to reach solutions on immigration issues such as DACA, border security and Visa reform.
- David Sampson—President and CEO, American Property Casualty Insurance Association—discussed the need to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and current efforts in Congress to enact a “clean” multi-year extension as soon as possible. He added that cyberterrorism was an increasing risk to business interruption in the marketplace.
- Dana Peterson—Global Economist, Citgroup—spoke about how consumer spending trends, demographics and market conditions have led to the 11th year of economic expansion in the U.S. She also forecast continued growth as domestic companies lead the way in technology areas affecting Artificial Intelligence, 5G and blockchain.
- Charlie Cook—Political Analyst for The National Journal Group; Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report—spoke about the electoral landscape, the increase in “tribal” partisanship and how a sharp increase in voter engagement is expected in the upcoming presidential election.
Following the business meeting, informal dinners were held with congressional policymakers and Roundtable members to discuss policy issues in more detail.
Next on the Roundtable’s meeting calendar is the all-member State of the Industry Meeting on January 28, 2020, which will be held in conjunction with its policy advisory committee meetings in Washington, DC.
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